Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop!
I’m back from a little self-imposed, much needed break and I’m ready to tackle the latest question.
Today’s question is: Does ‘show don’t tell’ ever run up against your personal prohibitions?
And remember to pay a visit to my fellow writers to see what they have come up with. You can find their works here!
“Show don’t tell” is a basic concept in writing. In short, it allows the reader to explore and experience the story through emotions, feelings, senses, actions, thoughts and dialogue rather than what the author tells them to think through description and exposition. It’s pretty simple at its core.
‘Ellie was excited that it was Christmas Morning.’ Nothing wrong with that, in theory. It’s accurate and to the point. But it tells the reader what to think or feel, tells them what is going on.
‘Ellie woke with a start. The first grey light of morning filtered through the window. Throwing of the covers, she scrambled to the foot of her bed, scattering soft toys everywhere. She gasped. He had been! The soft, fleecy stocking hung on the corner of her bedframe bulged with parcels all wrapped in brightly-coloured paper, topped with little bows. She fought back a scream of excitement, a high-pitched squeeking escaping her clenched jaw. Ellie sprinted down the stairs, taking them two and three at a time. She rounded the corner into the hallway and burst out into the lounge. Her sock-covered feet skidded to a halt on the polished wood floor as she saw the magnificent tree, fairy lights glinting off of beautiful ornaments. Packages of all shapes and sizes were piled up beneath and around it. This time there was no subduing the joyous giggles that erupted from her, her parents watching on from the doorway, huge smiles upon their faces.’
Okay, so that was a bit over the top, but it conveys my point. Rather than just telling you that Ellie is excited for Christmas, the second piece demonstrates it through her feelings and actions.
So back to the question in hand. Does “show don’t tell” conflict in anyway with my views? Not in the least. Yes, I can save on my wordcount and by extension my editing costs by writing the shorter option. But it’s not nearly as creative. Showing allows the reader to experience things for themselves. It’s definitely a method I’ll use in all my writings.